Manchester United 3 Manchester City 1

Carling Cup Semi Final, Leg Two
Wednesday 27 January 2010, 20:00 KO

City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Boyata, Garrido (Ireland 64), Barry, de Jong, Zabaleta, Bellamy, Wright-Phillips (Adebayor 72), Tevez
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Sylvinho, Petrov, Ibrahim
Goals: Tevez (76)
Booked: Tevez

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

City went into the game with a slender advantage and Roberto Mancini wasn’t about to sit back on that advantage, naming the same side as played United the week before.

Though it was the hosts who got off to the better start. A series of corners came to nothing, as Darren Fletcher headed a tame effort well wide of Given’s goal. Soon after, Nani ploughed straight through Zabaleta and Rooney had an effort on goal comfortably saved by Given.

Scholes then had an effort that cleared the crossbar, after Kompany had done well to clear, before Boyata was in the right place at the right time to beat Rooney to the ball and concede the corner.

City, though, were dangerous on the break and had a good effort as Bellamy headed a Wright-Phillips cross towards the goal, but van der Sar had a comfortable save. It was an isolated effort of City’s and from a long way out, but it was an effort on target nonetheless.

Ferdinand then backheeled an effort wide of Given’s post from another United corner, before he caught Tevez in the throat with a flailing arm, but there was nothing malicious in it and the referee played on.

Ferdinand was then back in the thick of the action as Tevez, all alone in the United half, ran at goal and broke into the box. He tried to take on the England centre-back, but he couldn’t get round him and the ball ended up in van der Sar’s gloves.

City forced another comfortable save from van der Sar via the ex-United man Carlos Tevez, as he headed a Bellamy cross towards goal. It came from behind the defender in front of the goalkeeper, but he was able to hold on to the ball.

A slip from Boyata when trying to clear the ball nearly let Carrick cross for Rooney, but Given was alert to the danger and dropped on the ball well. Wright-Phillips had the last meaningful effort of the half, but it was another shot from range and another comfortable save from van der Sar.

The first action of the second half saw City on the front foot. Richards drove out of the defence with the ball, switched it on to his left foot and had a go for the top corner. It was curling in until van der Sar came across with a fantastic save to keep the scores level.

Bellamy was then hit by several coins and bottles thrown from the crowd and the game stopped while the referee reported the incident. In truth, the stoppage helped the home side, who cleared the Welshman’s corner and hit the away side on the break. Scholes had an effort from the edge of the box, after an excellent save from Given, and it found the back of the net.

A goalmouth scramble followed the goal as City struggled to get back into the match after conceding and it could have been worse for the visitors, but Boyata got the ball behind.

Richards had an effort from a City corner and it was nodded over the bar by Evans, but the resulting corner came to nought for the Blues. Fletcher and Richards then had a go at each other in the midfield, after both parties had gone in strongly, but the referee diffused the situation.

Then, with 70 minutes on the clock, it got worse for City. Carrick slid the ball back across the goal, with Given going the other way and the back of the net bulged once again. Rooney should then have immediately made it three, but he somehow missed from two yards, knocking the ball wide.

But, just as United were starting to put their minds to Arsenal at the weekend, City got themselves on aggregate terms. Tevez flicked the ball into the net from a Bellamy cross and City were back in the game.

Fletcher then skied an effort from outside the box, before Kompany did well to rob Rooney of the ball, after Boyata had cut out a through ball that would have sent the United man through on goal.

But then, in stoppage time, came the sucker punch for City again. With three minutes held up on the board, and two minutes played, a fantastic Given save meant nothing as, from the resulting corner, Rooney was left unmarked and he headed to win the tie for United.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for City after such an even game, but heads can’t be allowed to drop with Portsmouth coming at the weekend and an FA Cup run that could also lead to Wembley. City were unlucky – very unlucky – but slack marking cost them at Old Trafford once again.

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